Woman losing family home after mum dies

Toni Carter
Toni Carter

A Crawley woman is to be made homeless two months after her mother died of cancer.

Toni Carter, 32, moved back into her childhood home to help her terminally ill mum, Leigh Jelley, last April.

But her mum died sooner than expected in February, two months before Toni was allowed to succeed the tenancy under the council’s rules.

Crawley Borough Council has given Toni until April 11 to leave the council home in Javelin Court, Pound Hill.

Toni, a flight attendant, said her mum had wanted her to be able to stay in the family home where she grew up, ‘because my mum was very very concerned about what would happen to me because I’ve not got anywhere to go’.

Toni scattered the ashes today (Wednesday) of her mum, who was a security guard at the Boots in County Mall.

Her grandfather Bill Jelley also died recently, and Toni said she would have to sell household furniture and items Leigh had wanted to pass on to her.

Toni said she could not afford to rent privately and would be homeless.

“I just find it quite sad that nobody as a human being seems to be understanding where I’m coming from or even caring,” she said.

“I’ve never claimed off the Government and I just feel that I’ve worked hard from 16 for absolutely no reason whatsoever.”

Toni lived at the house for 24 years, until she moved in with a friend when she was 28. But she had not lived back at the property for the required 12 months before her mother passed away. The council has said she would also not be eligible for a two-year non-renewable tenancy.

A council spokeswoman said: “We are very sorry to hear of Miss Carter’s loss and we have advised her that we will accommodate any reasonable request for extra time to find alternative accommodation following the expiry of the Notice to Quit. Unfortunately she does not meet residential eligibility criteria outlined in the Housing Act 1985 to succeed the tenancy. An immediate family member who does not qualify to take on the tenancy but has resided in the property for five consecutive years may be granted a two year non-renewable tenancy while they find alternative accommodation. Miss Carter unfortunately did not qualify for this flexible tenancy and we are unable to act outside the terms of the Housing Act and the council’s Allocations and Housing Policies.”

More than 500 people have signed a petition by Toni’s friend, Natalie Graves, and her mother Theresa Graves: https://www.change.org/p/theresa-graves-council-make-women-homeless-after-mother-dies-of-terminal-illness

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